Bloom’s Taxonomy Explained (One of the MOST Effective Study Techniques)
Bloom’s Taxonomy is a framework that describes the process of knowing and learning. It has six categories of cognitive skills that vary according to their complexity and richness.
Teachers usually use it in creating learning objectives and learning outcomes for their lessons. But it is also a valuable and effective technique in studying.
As a learner, knowing Bloom’s taxonomy can guide you and help you improve your study habits by studying efficiently and productively. Its categories can help you progress from simply recalling lessons to analyzing, evaluating, and creating out of what you have learned.
Thus, it is essential to know more about this topic.
This article will explore Bloom’s Taxonomy, its domains, categories, effectiveness, and some examples of its application in the classroom setting.
Let’s dive in!
What is Bloom’s Taxonomy?
Bloom’s Taxonomy is a special framework that categorizes skills and educational goals that students are expected to attain.
Originally called the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Bloom’s Taxonomy was developed and published by Benjamin Bloom in 1956 with Max Englehart, Edward Furst, Walter Hill, and David Krathwol. They created it to describe and classify observable knowledge and skills, which help demonstrate learning.
This taxonomy has been applied and used by teachers from K-12 to college levels in their teaching.
Later, the taxonomy was revised by a group of cognitive psychologists, instructional researchers, curriculum theorists, and teaching and assessment specialists in 2001. Bloom’s former student Lorin Anderson and colleague David Krathwohl have led the team for the revision. They entitled the taxonomy A Taxonomy for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment.
The Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy focuses more on dynamic classification than the original one. They used verbs and gerunds to describe the cognitive processes that thinkers use to work with knowledge. Meanwhile, nouns have been used to present the knowledge content.
Additionally, the revised version has been designed to improve its usefulness in the school setting. Specifically, it focuses on writing learning goals and objectives that clarify what is expected of the student to do and achieve.
What is Bloom’s taxonomy best used for?
Bloom’s Taxonomy is created to give teachers a common language for discussing and exchanging learning and assessment methods. It also serves as a guide for students in learning and studying. Thus, it is best used for teaching and learning.
Teachers can specify learning objectives and outcomes derived from the taxonomy to help students build up their lower-level cognitive skills into higher thinking skills.
They can also use it to assess students’ learning to check if they can achieve their objectives. Otherwise, the taxonomy can guide teachers in changing their methods to better suit their students’ way of learning.
Aside from teaching, Bloom’s Taxonomy is also good for learning. Since the taxonomy guides teachers in crafting learning goals, the students can easily understand the lesson’s purpose. They can also know what they must do to demonstrate what they have learned because the learning objectives are specific and measurable.
With these, students can improve their ways of learning and develop habits to efficiently and productively study.
What are the three domains of Bloom’s Taxonomy?
Here are the three domains of Bloom’s Taxonomy:
1. Cognitive domain
The cognitive domain is the first and most popular hierarchy of learning objectives, with six categories ranging from lower to higher-order thinking skills. It mainly focuses on acquiring and applying your knowledge.
Because of this, it is the most widely used hierarchy in the educational setting.
Initially, the original cognitive domain used nouns and passive words to describe learning. However, Anderson and Krathwol address this domain and have used measurable verbs instead of nouns to show the active learning process.
Since this is hierarchical, you must first achieve the lower levels to progress to the higher level cognitive skills.
Photo from Simple Psychology.
2. Affective domain
The affective domain is about one’s feelings and emotions. It concentrates on how we handle things related to our emotions, such as our feelings, values, motivations, and attitudes.
It is the second handbook next to the cognitive domain and an extension of its original work of Bloom.
Like the Cognitive domain, the Affective model is also hierarchical. Here are the five levels:
Photo from Simple Psychology.
3. Psychomotor Domain
The Psychomotor domain is the final domain of Bloom’s Taxonomy that concerns physical movement, coordination, motor skills, and other skilled behavior.
The psychomotor skills can vary and may range from simple tasks, such as washing lab equipment, to more complicated tasks, such as operating a machine.
Additionally, speed, precision, and distance mark the master of these skills.
Robert Armstrong and his colleagues published the first model for this domain in 1970. They have five levels for their models: (1) imitation, (2) manipulation, (3) precision, (4) articulation, and (5) naturalization.
There were revised versions of their model. In 1972, Anita Harrow proposed six levels that focus on developing physical fitness, agility, dexterity, and different degrees of coordination. These levels are (1) reflex movements, (2) fundamental movements, (3) perceptual abilities, (4) physical abilities, (5) skilled movements, and (6) non-discursive communication.
Bloom’s categories of knowledge explained
Here are Bloom’s categories of knowledge:
This first category refers to retrieving or recalling relevant information from your long-term memory. It also indicates the learnings you have acquired theoretically or practically. It may be basic, but it is the most important since it is the pillar of the educational model.
You can unlock the other categories necessary for improving your learning if you have good knowledge.
In the original Bloom’s Taxonomy, Knowledge is the term used for the first category. However, the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy changed it to a verb and used the word “Remembering” instead.
Like the first category, Comprehension is the term used in the original Bloom’s Taxonomy, while Understanding is the word used in the revised version.
Comprehension refers to how well you understand the lesson. Once you understand the topic, you can explain the main idea and concepts of the lessons you are learning.
Understanding can help you progress to the next category of knowledge, which is the application.
Application is the third category of knowledge that allows you to use and apply the concepts in real-life situations. It addresses when and how you will utilize the learned ideas and methods.
Analyzing is breaking a topic into components and determining how each part relates to one another and its overall purpose. It is also the ability to examine a subject or idea from a different perspective and see the bigger picture.
It lets you show the connections between factual information, which can significantly help you deal with any situation in life.
Evaluation is assessing and making judgments on anything based on criteria and standards. It entails checking and constructively critiquing a concept while supporting it with strong reasoning and pieces of evidence.
In the original version of Bloom’s Taxonomy, Evaluation is the highest level among the six categories of knowledge. However, the authors of the revised version of Bloom’s Taxonomy have replaced the Evaluation with Creation.
Thus, evaluation is now the second highest among the categories.
You can learn how to evaluate when you already have knowledge, understanding, application, and analysis of the topic.
Creating is the last category of knowledge yet the highest level in Bloom’s Taxonomy. It refers to your ability to create something new from what you have learned.
It aims to guide you in contributing to the welfare of society, which is one of the main purposes of why authors have created Bloom’s Taxonomy.
The original version of Bloom’s Taxonomy used the word “Synthesis” instead of “Creating.” It was also the fifth level, instead of Evaluating. However, the revision changed the term to “Creating” and made it the last level of the hierarchy of learning objectives.
How is Bloom’s Taxonomy used in the classroom?
Bloom’s Taxonomy is widely used in the educational setting. Here are the ways how it is used in the classroom:
1. Using it to relay learning intentions
Bloom’s Taxonomy provides a framework for teachers to create learning goals. Creating effective learning goals can help establish an understanding for both teachers and students on the purpose of the lessons. It also clarifies the objects, which gives a clear direction on how students can progress in their cognitive skills.
2. Asking Bloom-type of questions
Questions can greatly impact learners’ ability to make connections and improve their thinking skills.
The teachers are not the only ones who can ask Bloom-type questions. When you study, you can ask yourself Bloom-type questions to improve yourself.
For instance, an example of a remember-type question is “How would you define ____?”. To check your understanding of the topic, you can ask, “Why did ___ .” To encourage creative thinking, you can ask yourself, “How can you___.”
3. Customizing activities to assist student learning
Since the learning goals are specific and assist teachers in assessing student learning, the information gathered from the assessment can help teachers customize activities that align with the learning objectives.
Customization of activities and tests can give the students the right materials to learn and develop skills suitable to their level.
These activities can also be crafted by yourself when you study. To help you remember information, you can either use flashcards or write a timeline of events to help you remember history lessons. You can also write a summary of the lessons in your own words to check how well you understand your lessons.
Is Bloom’s Taxonomy effective?
Yes, Bloom’s Taxonomy is an effective tool for teachers in creating lesson plans and tests to encourage students’ learning and critical thinking.
During their assessment, Bloom and his team found that 95% of the test questions that the students encounter only require them to think at the lowest level. That is why they designed the taxonomy to guide teachers on how they can help students improve their cognitive skills.
As Nancy Adams noted in her article on Bloom’s Taxonomy of cognitive learning objectives, Bloom’s Taxonomy leads to in-depth learning and transfer of knowledge and skills to various tasks and contexts. This is all thanks to its differentiation between cognitive skills and attraction of focus to learning objectives that need higher levels of thinking skills.
Learning is a life-long process. It is great that experts have crafted theories, techniques, and other essential tips that can help both students and teachers learn more effectively and efficiently.
One of these important theories in education is Bloom’s Taxonomy. It does not only help teachers improve their instruction and delivery of lessons but also greatly contributes to students’ development of cognitive skills that are useful both in the classroom and in the real-life setting.
We have presented the importance of Bloom’s Taxonomy as a study technique. We have also given examples of how to apply and incorporate it into your study time. However, if you still want to know more about how to be more productive in studying, a Personal Productivity course from Iris Reading is suitable for you.
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